Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Skill's the name of the game

THE early five-man instances have been ludicrously easy. Our Kara-geared guild teams have been sweeping through the likes of Nexus and Utgarde Keep, barely pausing for breath as the bosses came and went.

So last night we ran a team of alts in Utgarde, most of them wearing greens with a smattering of blues and a handful of epics amongst the gear. We had a warrior tank, priest, two mages (I took Frazzle) and a rogue.

I mention this because there are some interesting debates boiling around at the moment following further blue posts from Ghostcrawler about Blizz’s moves to make skill more important than spec/buffs.

Oh and by the way he also said the following: “If you're 80 already, you are a relatively hardcore player. Most WoW players are not 80 yet. If it's easy for you, it's not easy for everybody.”

That was on December 3 - and that’ll make all you level 80s stop and think eh?

So back to Utgarde. It was a challenging run which actually made it a lot more fun and when things went pear-shaped, as they frequently did, everyone had to think fast on their feet.

And that’s where the skill came in. It wasn’t about spec, it wasn’t about buffs, it wasn't about gear. It was about players reacting quickly as situations got out of control or didn’t go exactly as planned and/or marked. They took decisions and did things which saved our butts because they were smart enough to do it.

And as I understand it, that’s what Blizz wants to be the determining factor as it as been tweaking classes, their buffs and talents.

So as we run the instances and raids in Lich King we no longer have to choose a particular class for buffs and abilities, but we choose the tank/healer/dps because of the player’s skill.

For me that makes far more sense. Of course gear will still be important, but when everyone’s on a level playing field I’m going to choose the guy for my team who pulled us out of a hole last time over the dummy who stood there and did nothing.

Let me give you an example. I tanked one instance with my druid in a pug group recently. We had two mages and I gave them their marks for sheeping (penguining, pigging or even black catting if you bought the option for 2.3k gold).

One continually kept failing to sheep and the other didn’t resheep without instruction . It was painful and the lack of skill means these guys wouldn’t be your choice for a run.

Of course the thing with skill or lack of is this. Whereas you can do nothing about class abilities (as in the old life) you can do something about lack of skill.

That’s where as a GM I come into play with our members. You or one of your class leaders, can give people advice, help them improve and hopefully become more skilful.

In a sense these changes have put the onus on us to help people get the best out of their game – and surely that’s no bad thing.

It also means if my MM hunter kicks BM ass in the skill stakes – he’ll get the slot in the run.


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